Yes, you read that correctly. In the ongoing judicial war against North Carolina Republicans, a federal court expanded the ruling that North Carolina must redraw its state legislative districts to now include holding a special off-year election by the end of 2017 instead of waiting for 2018.
In a society where a man can be a woman, it might not seem like such a stretch for a court to transmogrify into a legislature. But if the judicial power-grab against the states is not reined in quickly, we will cease to function as a democratic republic.
The three-judge panel on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, which included a Democrat Fourth Circuit Judge and Republican and Democrat-appointed district judges, became the ultimate super legislature yesterday. The federal courts have already thrown out the state’s congressional and legislative maps as well as a county school board map based on politically-motivated claims of racism. Yet, despite the maps being approved by Obama’s Justice Department and twice by the state’s supreme court, the unelected federal judiciary — which has absolutely no jurisdiction over state elections — is forcing the state to spend extra money, overturn the will of the people, and conduct an additional election.
Rep. David Lewis and Sen. Bob Rucho ,Chairmen of the North Carolina House and Senate Redistricting Committees, rightfully reminded the media about the background of these districts that are reflexively being referred to as “unconstitutional.”
This politically-motivated decision, which would effectively undo the will of millions of North Carolinians just days after they cast their ballots, is a gross overreach that blatantly disregards the constitutional guarantee for voters to duly elect their legislators to biennial terms. We continue to believe the maps drawn by the General Assembly, pre-cleared by the Obama Justice Department and twice upheld by our state’s elected Supreme Court are constitutional, and we will move quickly to appeal.
Unfortunately, the federal courts have declared both the Constitution and the original limited role of the judiciary itself in government to be unconstitutional!
As I’ve written ad nauseam in this column, states have plenary power over the time, methods, and procedures of conducting even federal elections, much less state elections. If there are any lawsuits, they should be brought in state court. Yet, the federal judiciary is now codifying Democrat political aspirations into law and the Constitution by redrawing maps, mandating early voting, requiring same day registration, nullifying photo ID, blocking states from cleaning its voter rolls, and preventing states from clamping down on non-citizens voting or other voter anomalies. But to force states to hold an extra election is a bridge too far. It’s time for states to say no and for the other two branches of the federal government to protect them.
Federal judges don’t have exclusive and supreme jurisdiction over interpreting the Constitution even when they make a reasonable attempt to interpret it as it was originally conceived, much less when they blatantly trample it. State officials, members of Congress, and officers of the executive branch swear the same oath to uphold the Constitution, which is exactly why John Marshall wrote in Marbury that judges also have the right to interpret the Constitution for its purview.
If states and Congress don’t rein in the scope of power the federal courts have grabbed for themselves, we will never be able to win competitive elections. Republicans will probably wind up losing the North Carolina governor’s race exclusively because of the Fourth Circuit’s other radical racially-charged decision forcing them to accept same-day registration. Why even hold elections or have state legislatures anymore?
At some point conservative leaders need to wake up and smell the judicial tyranny. This is about more than just “appointing better judges.” This is a question of whether we are going to grant deference to the most unaccountable branch of government and afford it power that even King George never wielded.
Congress must exercise its Article III Sect. 2 powers to remove redistricting and state election law from the jurisdiction of the federal judiciary and transfer all litigation to state courts. Not that federal courts had that power to begin with. This change would apply equally to red and blue states and uphold the will of the people. Remember, most state judges are elected in some form.
And if Congress fails to act, there has got to be some point at which states just say no. Even Alexander Hamilton agreed that states could be used as a check against a runaway federal government. In Federalist #28, he predicted that each level of government would check each other and that states would effectively stand up to usurpations:
It may safely be received as an axiom in our political system that the State governments will, in all possible contingencies, afford complete security against invasions of the public liberty by the national authority … [P]ossessing all the organs of civil power and the confidence of the people, they can at once adopt a regular plan of opposition, in which they can combine all the resources of the community.
In Federalist #33, Hamilton, a strong proponent of a robust federal government, went a step further. Even with regard to tyranny from the stronger federal legislature, Hamilton felt that when it steps outside of the enumerated powers to crush the states, those acts are “merely acts of usurpation and will deserve to be treated as such.” Could he have ever envisioned the unelected branch of the federal government, which has neither force nor will, to be crowned king over our divided republic?
We fought a civil war over states engaging in nullification of law. What does it say about our society that unelected judges can engage in nullification without facing a scintilla of opposition?
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.